The Marvel Cinematic Universe is constantly expanding and there is no denying the fact that the studio has got the winning formula about how to make a superhero movie down to a tee. That being said, while films like ‘Avengers’ have been formulaic, there are some gems within the MCU, like ‘Black Panther’, that stand out and outshine the others because they are able to tackle some serious social issues while also being a highly entertaining superhero movie.
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ manages to deal with the idea that people make a place, not geographical boundaries, while the recently released ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home‘ deals with the problem of misinformation in the post-truth era. Although ‘Ragnarok’ started Marvel’s shift of making superhero movies more serious, there is no better example than 2018’s ‘Black Panther’, that has become a landmark superhero movie, having been lauded by critics and fans alike for tackling some very serious racial and postcolonial issues, while representing the African culture with all its nuances rather than washing it with broad strokes as Hollywood tends to do.
The film is directed by Ryan Coogler who is known to capture the ghetto experience and depicts problems of racism in works like ‘Fruitvale Station‘ and ‘Creed‘. Thus, ‘Black Panther’ too was infused with elements like these, making it a gritty tale, despite the story being centered on a glorious African royal family and their rich kingdom. Having come out at a time when ‘Black Lives Matter’ was in full swing, the movie managed to make waves. You don’t have to believe us, just see how it fared at the Oscars. It became the first ever superhero movie to receive a Best Picture nomination and managed to go home with three Oscars, namely for best costume design, best production design, and best original score.
So, if you have not seen the film yet, the only question you need to be asking is where you can watch it. And if you have seen it, as someone who has researched on this movie thoroughly, trust me when I say that it deserves multiple viewings since it is incredibly layered. But before we tell you where you can watch the movie, let us quickly tell you the story of ‘Black Panther’.
What is Black Panther About?
We were first introduced to the character of Black Panther or T’Challa in ‘Captain America: Civil War’. We got to know that he hailed from the Vibranium rich nation of Wakanda in Africa. The same movie saw the death of the then king, T’Chaka. When we are introduced to the ‘Black Panther’ movie, we are told a backstory that took place a long time ago.
We see how a meteor containing Vibranium crashed there, and five African tribes fought for the resource. However, one warrior consumed a ‘heart-shaped herb’ affected by the metal and gained the powers of the Black Panther. He managed to stop the fighting and united all but the Jabari tribe, which retreated to the hills. Wakanda used Vibranium to progress in leaps and bounds, developing cutting edge technology and defense systems, all the while isolating themselves and pretending to be a third world country to prevent exploitation at the hands of others.
The story then jumps forth to 1992 when we see King T’Chaka pay a visit to his brother N’Jobu, who is working undercover in Oakland, California. He accuses N’Jobu of helping black market dealer Ulysses Klaue to steal Vibranium from Wakanda. N’Jobu’s partner turns out to be a Wakandan, Zuri, who confirms the king’s suspicions, and the traitorous brother is killed.
Jumping to the present day, we see T’Challa return to Wakanda to take the throne following his father’s death. Before the coronation, there is one mission — to get his ex-lover Nakia, who is a spy, off from her undercover assignment. Assisted by Okoye of the Dora Milaje (the king’s bodyguards) regiment, they are successful and they attend the ceremony with T’Challa’s mother Ramonda and younger sister Shuri. The ceremony involves a combat ritual where the claim to the throne can be challenged and the winner gets it all. The loser has to yield or die. M’Baku of the Jabari tribe challenges T’Challa, but after winning, he convinces M’Baku to yield rather than die.
In the meanwhile, we see Klaue and his accomplice Erik Stevens, aka Killmonger, steal a Wakandan artifact from a British museum. W’Kabi, the leader of the Border Tribe, and T’Challa’s friend, and Okoye’s lover, urges him to bring back Klaue alive. The scene shifts to Busan, South Korea, where Klaue plans to make a deal with Everett Ross of the CIA (who we also saw in ‘Civil War’). Mayhem soon breaks out and Klaue tries to escape. However, using superior Wakandan tech, Black Panther takes him down. Instead of taking him back, he is convinced by Ross to let Klaue be interrogated in a CIA safe house. This is where Killmonger attacks and breaks Klaue out, fatally injuring Ross. Instead of following Klaue, Black Panther takes Ross back to Wakanda to save his life. Naturally, this draws the ire of W’Kabi.
While Shuri heals Ross, T’Challa confronts Zuri about N’Jobu and it turns out Killmonger is ex-black-ops and N’Jobu’s son, N’Jadaka. Killmonger, in the meanwhile, kills Klaue and takes him back to Wakanda, thus being granted an audience with the king. There he reveals his identity and claim to the throne, challenging T’Challa to a fight. In the process, he kills Zuri and defeats the Black Panther, presumably throwing him off a cliff to his death. After ingesting the herb, he becomes the new Black Panther, and orders that all other herbs are burned. However, Nakia extracts one. The evil plan is now in place — the Wakandan weapons will be distributed to all undercover operatives so that the black people of the world can defeat their oppressors, and in turn, become oppressors themselves. Nakia, Shuri, Ramonda, and Ross go to the Jabari tribe, fleeing Wakanda. There they find T’Challa barely alive, but after he ingests the herb, he is ready for round two.
The film reaches a climax as a fight breaks out between T’Challa and Killmonger, each wearing a Black Panther suit. W’Kabi and his tribe stand by Killmonger while Shuri, Nakia, and the Dora Milaje fight for T’Challa. In the meanwhile, Ross shoots down planes carrying Wakandan weapons. Soon, the Jabari reinforce T’Challa’s battlements, forcing the Border Tribe to stand down. The rightful Black Panther also strikes a fatal blow, and instead of being incarcerated, the proud Killmonger chooses to die a free man.
This brings us to the part you have been waiting for, where to watch ‘Black Panther’.
Is Black Panther on Netflix?
Netflix has quite a repository of Marvel movies, so it would be logical to assume they have ‘Black Panther’ as well. You would be absolutely right in this assumption. The streaming platform does have ‘Black Panther’ and it would be wise to see it before it gets removed, what with Disney bringing their own platform Disney+ to house all Marvel content under one roof. You can watch ‘Black Panther’ on Netflix, here.
Is Black Panther on Hulu?
Hulu also boasts a lot of Marvel content, but most of it includes television shows. ‘Black Panther’ is not available on Hulu, but if you want to see a rich man dress up in a powerful suit and fight evil, the streaming platform does have ‘Iron Man 2‘.
Is Black Panther on Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime has a library that is almost as enviable as Netflix’s. However, the streaming platform does not have ‘Black Panther’ in its library for subscribers. But don’t let that get you down. Prime subscribers can still rent or watch the movie. It costs $3.99 to rent it and $19.99 to buy it. Obviously, unless you are fixated on having the film in your library, we recommend you save money and rent the movie. You can watch ‘Black Panther’, here.
Where Can I Stream Black Panther Online?
If you do not have access to the major streaming platforms, there is no reason to feel dejected. You can still watch ‘Black Panther’ online. Head over to YouTube, Vudu or FandangoNow, to rent or buy and stream the movie. All the sites have a rent option where they charge $2.99 for the SD version and $3.99 for the HD version. Alternately, you can buy the movie at $14.99 for the SD version, $19.99 for the HD version. Vudu and FandangoNow even have an Ultra HD version at $24.99. We leave it to your best judgment to decide whether to rent or buy and which version will suit you best.
Where Can I Watch Black Panther Online For Free?
How could we have forgotten about the freeloaders? While ‘Black Panther’ has proven to everyone that it is a fantastic film, there are some holdouts and skeptics who might want to watch it before investing in it. In that case, you can use Netflix’s free trial period to watch the movie. Since it is just a movie, you should be done before your free week is up.
As usual, we urge our readers to pay for the art you consume, and ‘Black Panther’ definitely deserves your money.